new to campers, trailers, towing, 1977 surfside tm-14 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-03-2013, 11:01 PM   #1
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Name: tyler
Trailer: 1977 surfside tm-14
Saskatchewan
Posts: 4
new to campers, trailers, towing, 1977 surfside tm-14

Hello, my name is Tyler and after a few months of watching the classifieds and using this forum as a resource for shopping and planning I bought a really solid mostly original 14ft. Surfside trailer today for what I think was a great price 2750$ Cdn. Perfect size for my small family of four and can't wait to start on some of the plans we have for it. I am 28 years old, a workaholic, and want to make sure I am making time for my two kids to have what I think to be essential family getaways.


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My first question is about towing, I've never pulled a trailer before, I know I had it connected correctly since the p.o. helped me hook it up and we had a good connection, but couldn't help but notice a lot of bounce in it through my rearview mirror. Almost felt like it was bouncing on the hitch and jarring a bit over bumps. Like I said, this could be totally normal for pullover a fiberglass trailer, but want to make sure I am taking care of it and my vehicle. Trailer is completely bare of any gear so it should be balanced the same way it was designed to be. Any advice would be appreciated!

My next question will be about what material to use to redo the interior wall coverings - links to any great reno threads that cover this would be appreciated!

Looking forward to sharing my journey and continuing to learn from all of you.
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Old 08-04-2013, 03:58 AM   #2
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Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Michigan
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Your trailer might have been a little "nose up" rather than level.

Totally unloaded the trailer would tend to be a bit more bouncy. I know nothing about the suspension on that brand of trailer so this is just a guess, but suspension has to be designed so that trailer can be loaded, thus without gear might actually ride worse than with some weight in it.

Could also have been too light on the hitch weight. You want 10-15 percent of the total weight on the hitch. About 2/3 of the weight in front of the axle, 1/3 behind it. Trailer should be in effect bearing down on the hitch to a certain extent.
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Old 08-04-2013, 07:05 AM   #3
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Manitoba
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Congratulations on your Surfside! Camping is a great way to spend some family time. Bounce can be from bad road surfaces, like worn jointed cement. It can also occur when the aging axle rubber no longer has any flex left. Have someone go inside and bounce over the axle, while you watch for flex in the wheelwell. If there is no movement, the solution could be a new axle. Or, enjoy it as is, and take it easy on the bad roads.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:23 AM   #4
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Name: Paul
Trailer: Trillium Jubilee '79
Newfoundland
Posts: 44
Tyler.

Welcome and congratulations!!! Sounds like you got a great deal. I'm not much on mechanical techno but I am a newby.

As a first timer trailer owner/ transporter (we purchased a short time ago) I wondered the same thing as you. All the sounds and movements and sensations were foreign and somewhat disconcerting. We've since travelled over 3000 kilometres. There is a new comfort that comes after each tow and experience. All of your questions may /may not get answered here. I'm willing to bet that soon you'll be more at ease with all the sounds and bumps and squeaks and you'll begin to focus on other concerns that may arise (e.g. sway, proper tow speed, braking, wind and its effects, different road surface feel and effects on the trailer or levelling to ensure your fridge works properly off your propane).

There are a lot of helpful hints and people here. Take notes. Read up. Ask. Tow. Tow again. Take notes. Experiment with loading. There's much to be learned!!! Chances are someone here can help.

Happy camping from a Happy camper.

Paul :-)
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:47 AM   #5
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Name: tyler
Trailer: 1977 surfside tm-14
Saskatchewan
Posts: 4
Thanks everyone, and Paul it is great gratify your experience with being a new to this, I've been trying to tell myself it is just new sounds and everything, but I'm always nervous about new stuff like this.
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:10 AM   #6
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Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
California
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Seeing that your trailer is somewhat "Nose-Up" I can't say that the p.o. was an expert in setting up your tow. I would suggest going to a known towing professional, such as an established RV shop, and getting your set-up inspected and corrected as needed.
Some areas of concern would be:
Proper drop on drawbar to get trailer back to level when towing.
Proper ball size verified
Trailer Coupler condition, adjustment and lubrication checked and verified.
(Remember, that coupler is, no doubt, now over 25 years old.)
Play in hitch & drawbar pin
Safety chain security
electrical connections & condition.

There is also a "U" shaped clamp that can be installed on the hitch/drawbar to stop play/clunking in that area.

As this is your first adventure into RV'ing it is even more critical that everything starts out right.... and safe.....

And, completely off-topic: Workaholism, RV'ing and raising kids don't mix.... It takes time to enjoy RV'ing and raising kids. Been there, done that!
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:15 AM   #7
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
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Hi Tyler, to FiberglassRV, we're glad you're here!

Your trailer is going to provide you a good work/life balance. Each time you go out, you and the family will make a ton of memories that will last a lifetime. Cherish each and every one of them.
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:15 AM   #8
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Name: Paul
Trailer: Trillium Jubilee '79
Newfoundland
Posts: 44
Tyler.

On my trailer there are two reference levelling bubbles, one on the door side and one at the rear. Hooked up and on a level surface, check your side reference levelling bubble to gauge how your trailer sits on the hitch once attached to your TV (towing vehicle). That should give you a good idea if you are nose up.

P.
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Old 08-04-2013, 11:45 AM   #9
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Name: tyler
Trailer: 1977 surfside tm-14
Saskatchewan
Posts: 4
Ok I'm thinking I'll have to look at a bigger drop hitch. The ball is for sure the right since since there are the factory size markings on it, but even with a 6" drop it may still be a bit high. There is a side to side level bubble inside but no front to back, so odd the princess auto for a few more bits and pieces. Glad its home and looking forward to tearing into it after its been to a specialist for an inspection on some of the utilities like fridge and furnace... Safety first. I've been on a few forums over the years for some of my other interests, but this right away feels like a very positive community, thanks for all the early advice!
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Old 08-04-2013, 12:54 PM   #10
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Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Michigan
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Originally Posted by Cam A View Post
.... It can also occur when the aging axle rubber no longer has any flex left. Have someone go inside and bounce over the axle, while you watch for flex in the wheelwell. If there is no movement, the solution could be a new axle. Or, enjoy it as is, and take it easy on the bad roads.
Good point. As I mentioned I don't know this model suspension but on a Scamp (and others) there are no springs or shocks. They use a torsion axle in which the wheel is mounted on an arm, arm twists against rubber in the axle tube to provide function of springs and shocks. Rubber wears out.

Even metal leaf springs and/or shocks can wear out.

Both can allow the road to bounce the tires off the ground or cause the trailer body to continue bouncing after the initial bump. Or as CamA suggested provide no cushion.

When the person inside bounces a few times, what you are looking for underneath is does the suspension "give" or do the tires just bulge a bit. Bottomed out suspension.
OR
When person stops bouncing does the suspension continue to go up and down for another bounce or two. Too weak suspension.

However a torsion axle that is worn out tends to allow trailer to ride lower on the tires, yours did not look like it had that condition in the picture you posted.

On mine torsion axle is worn out and trailer has dropped several inches, wheel well line (viewed from the side) is across top part of wheel (rim) rather than across the top 1/3 of the tire rubber. Can still use it until I replace axle but trailer has a rough ride so I have to take that into account, for now it's short trips on good roads.
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Old 08-04-2013, 01:22 PM   #11
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Trailer: 2013 Lil Snoozy #161 (SOLD)/2010 Tacoma
NE Oklahoma
Posts: 2,366
to the Forum Tyler.
Looks like you've found a great trailer.
Like the color match/scheme.

I'm glad you've gotten a early start with the RV'ing with family.
Wish I had done the same 40 years ago.
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